Exceptional Volunteers 2024 – meet Louise | Latest News

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Exceptional Volunteers 2024 – meet Louise

Happy National Volunteers’ Week to all staff, service users and their carers’ families and friends who volunteer in one capacity or another, in the Trust or outside it. It is wonderful to give time, skills and energy to support causes dear to us, and we salute every one of you.

To mark National Volunteers’ Week 2024, we will showcase some exceptional SWLSTG volunteers throughout this week.  

Today we have the pleasure to introduce Louise.  

Hello, my name is Louise Costella, I am a Volunteer Peer Involvement Facilitator, I have been volunteering with SWLSTG for 2 years. Within my role I have been working with the South London Partnership to support improvement in Adult Eating Disorders services. This provided opportunities to work as a Lived Experience Reviewer undertaking service reviews in both Adult and CAMHS inpatient eating disorder units. As part of the Involvement Team, I was involved in developing this role and worked with other lived experience members to develop the service review questionnaires. I have been involved in Eating Disorder Awareness week where I worked with the Eating Disorder Day Unit Manager to coproduce and co-deliver training to student nurses. I also supported a Careers event recruiting for volunteers and currently I am working with staff and those with lived experience on the Adult Eating Disorders Quality Summit where I will be sharing my lived experience.  

The reason I volunteer is that it provides meaning and purpose, a place where I can use my lived experience to help improve services for patients, carers and staff. Somewhere that I feel heard and understood and where my experiences matter. As a qualified nurse working elsewhere in the NHS, I recognise how difficult it can be to make changes and improvements, so I wanted to try and make a difference from a different perspective and by using my own experiences. I would like to share a piece of artwork I designed for a leaflet we are currently working on to explain what involvement means to me.


When asked what it is like to have Louise in the Team, Vanessa Robinson (Involvement Project lead) said: 

It is a real pleasure to work with Louise. I value and appreciate her time, support, passion, and expertise greatly. Together, and alongside others with lived experience, we have progressed with work that is both significant and close to our hearts. Thank you, Louise!



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